Monday, February 20, 2017
During a research experiment a marine biologist placed a shark into a large holding tank and then released several small bait fish into the tank.
As you would expect, the shark quickly swam around the tank, attacked and ate the smaller fish.
The marine biologist then inserted a strong piece of clear fiberglass into the tank, creating two separate partitions. She then put the shark on one side of the fiberglass and a new set of bait fish on the other.
Again, the shark quickly attacked. This time, however, the shark slammed into the fiberglass divider and bounced off. Undeterred, the shark kept repeating this behavior every few minutes to no avail. Meanwhile, the bait fish swam around unharmed in the second partition. Eventually, about an hour into the experiment, the shark gave up.
This experiment was repeated several dozen times over the next few weeks. Each time, the shark got less aggressive and made fewer attempts to attack the bait fish, until eventually the shark got tired of hitting the fiberglass divider and simply stopped attacking altogether.
The marine biologist then removed the fiberglass divider, but the shark didn’t attack. The shark was trained to believe a barrier existed between it and the bait fish, so the bait fish swam wherever they wished, free from harm.
The moral: Many of us, after experiencing setbacks and failures, emotionally give up and stop trying. Like the shark in the story, we believe that because we were unsuccessful in the past, we will always be unsuccessful. In other words, we continue to see a barrier in our heads, even when no ‘real’ barrier exists between where we are and where we want to go.
Once upon a time a psychology professor walked around on a stage while teaching stress management principles to an auditorium filled with students.
As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the typical “glass half empty or glass half full” question. Instead, with a smile on her face, the professor asked, “How heavy is this glass of water I’m holding?”
Students shouted out answers ranging from eight ounces to a couple pounds.
She replied, “From my perspective, the absolute weight of this glass doesn’t matter. It all depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute or two, it’s fairly light. If I hold it for an hour straight, its weight might make my arm ache a little.
If I hold it for a day straight, my arm will likely cramp up and feel completely numb and paralyzed, forcing me to drop the glass to the floor. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it feels to me.”
As the class shook their heads in agreement, she continued, “Your stresses and worries in life are very much like this glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and you begin to ache a little. Think about them all day long, and you will feel completely numb and paralyzed – incapable of doing anything else until you drop them.”
The moral: It’s important to remember to let go of your stresses and worries. No matter what happens during the day, as early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the night and into the next day with you. If you still feel the weight of yesterday’s stress, it’s a strong sign that it’s time to put the glass down.
Every Sunday morning I take a light jog around a park near my home. There’s a lake located in one corner of the park. Each time I jog by this lake, I see the same elderly woman sitting at the water’s edge with a small metal cage sitting beside her.
This past Sunday my curiosity got the best of me, so I stopped jogging and walked over to her. As I got closer, I realized that the metal cage was in fact a small trap. There were three turtles, unharmed, slowly walking around the base of the trap. She had a fourth turtle in her lap that she was carefully scrubbing with a spongy brush.
“Hello,” I said. “I see you here every Sunday morning. If you don’t mind my nosiness, I’d love to know what you’re doing with these turtles.”
She smiled. “I’m cleaning off their shells,” she replied. “Anything on a turtle’s shell, like algae or scum, reduces the turtle’s ability to absorb heat and impedes its ability to swim. It can also corrode and weaken the shell over time.”
“Wow! That’s really nice of you!” I exclaimed.
She went on: “I spend a couple of hours each Sunday morning, relaxing by this lake and helping these little guys out. It’s my own strange way of making a difference.”
“But don’t most freshwater turtles live their whole lives with algae and scum hanging from their shells?” I asked.
“Yep, sadly, they do,” she replied.
I scratched my head. “Well then, don’t you think your time could be better spent? I mean, I think your efforts are kind and all, but there are fresh water turtles living in lakes all around the world. And 99% of these turtles don’t have kind people like you to help them clean off their shells. So, no offense… but how exactly are your localized efforts here truly making a difference?”
The woman giggled aloud. She then looked down at the turtle in her lap, scrubbed off the last piece of algae from its shell, and said, “Sweetie, if this little guy could talk, he’d tell you I just made all the difference in the world.”
The moral: You can change the world – maybe not all at once, but one person, one animal, and one good deed at a time. Wake up every morning and pretend like what you do make a difference. It does.
Thursday, February 16, 2017
Once upon a time Sammy and his sister Marie visited their grandparents at their farm. Sammy picked up a slingshot to play with out in the woods. He practiced in the woods but he could never hit the target. Getting a little discouraged, he headed back for the lunch. As he was walking back he saw Grandma’s pet duck.
Just out of impulse, he let the slingshot fly which hit the duck square in the head and killed it. He was shocked and grieved. In a panic, he hid the dead duck in the pile of woods. Marie had seen it all from the window but she said nothing. After the lunch, the next day Grandma said, “Marie, let’s wash the dishes.” Marie said, “But Grandma, Sammy told me he wanted to help in the kitchen.”
Then she whispered to Sammy, “Remember the duck?” Sammy got nervous knowing his sister knew about the duck and if he doesn’t obey, she may tell his grandparents about it. So without saying anything he did the dishes.
Later that day, Grandpa asked if the children wanted to go fishing but Grandma said, “I’m sorry but I need Marie to help make a supper.” Marie just smiled and said, “Well that’s all right because Sammy told me he wanted to help.”
She whispered again to Johnny, “Remember the duck?” So Marie went fishing and Sammy stayed to help. After several days of Marie taking advantage of Sammy, he finally couldn’t stand it any longer. He came to Grandma and confessed that he had killed the duck.
Grandma knelt down, gave him a hug and said, “Sweetheart, I know. I was standing at the window and I saw the whole thing but because I love you, I forgave you. I was just wondering how long you would let Marie take advantage of you.”
Moral: Always confess of your mistakes. It will take away a load of guilt from your heart which will boost your conscience and no one will take an advantage of your secret mistakes! Accept your mistake, apologize and seek forgiveness politely.
Sunday, February 5, 2017
Think what a remarkable, unduplicatable, and miraculous thing it is to be you! Of all the people who have come and gone on the earth, since the beginning of time, not ONE of them is like YOU!
No one who has ever lived or is to come has had your combination of abilities, talents, appearance, friends, acquaintances, burdens, sorrows and opportunities.
No one’s hair grows exactly the way yours does. No one’s finger prints are like yours. No one has the same combination of secret inside jokes and family expressions that you know.
The few people who laugh at all the same things you do, don’t sneeze the way you do. No one prays about exactly the same concerns as you do. No one is loved by the same combination of people that love you – NO ONE!
No one before, no one to come. YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY UNIQUE!
Enjoy that uniqueness. You do not have to pretend in order to seem more like someone else. You weren’t meant to be like someone else. You do not have to lie to conceal the parts of you that are not like what you see in anyone else.
You were meant to be different. Nowhere ever in all of history will the same things be going on in anyone’s mind, soul and spirit as are going on in yours right now.
If you did not exist, there would be a hole in creation, a gap in history, something missing from the plan for humankind.
Treasure your uniqueness. It is a gift given only to you. Enjoy it and share it!
No one can reach out to others in the same way that you can. No one can speak your words. No one can convey your meanings. No one can comfort with your kind of comfort. No one can bring your kind of understanding to another person.
No one can be cheerful and lighthearted and joyous in your way. No one can smile your smile. No one else can bring the whole unique impact of you to another human being.
Share your uniqueness. Let it be free to flow out among your family and friends and people you meet in the rush and clutter of living wherever you are. That gift of yourself was given you to enjoy and share. Give yourself away!
See it! Receive it! Let it tickle you! Let it inform you and nudge you and inspire you! YOU ARE UNIQUE!
Maturity is many things. It is the ability to base a judgment on the big picture, the long haul.
It means being able to resist the urge for immediate gratification and opt for the course of action that will pay off later.
One of the characteristics of the young is “I want it now.”
Grown-up people can wait.
Maturity is perseverance–the ability to sweat out a project or a situation, in spite of heavy opposition and discouraging setbacks, and stick with it until it is finished.
The adult who is constantly changing friends and changing mates is immature. He/she cannot stick it out because he/she has not grown up.
Maturity is the ability to control anger and settle differences without violence or destruction. The mature person can face unpleasantness, frustration, discomfort and defeat without collapsing or complaining. He/she knows he cannot have everything his/her own way every time. He/she is able to defer to circumstances, to other people-and to time. He/she knows when to compromise and is not too proud to do so.
Maturity is humility. It is being big enough to say, “I was wrong.” And, when he/she is right, the mature person need not experience the satisfaction of saying, “I told you so.”
Maturity is the ability to live up to your responsibilities, and this means being dependable. It means keeping your word. Dependability is the hallmark of integrity. Do you mean what you say-and do you say what you mean? Unfortunately, the world is filled with people who cannot be counted on. When you need them most, they are among the missing. They never seem to come through in the clutches.
They break promises and substitute alibis for performance. They show up late or not at all. They are confused and disorganized. Their lives are a chaotic maze of broken promises, former friends, unfinished business and good intentions that somehow never materialize. They are always a day late and a dollar short.
Maturity is the ability to make a decision and stand by it. Immature people spend their lives exploring endless possibilities and then doing nothing. Action requires courage. Without courage, little is accomplished.
Maturity is the ability to harness your abilities and your energies and do more than is expected. The mature person refuses to settle for mediocrity. He/she would rather aim high and miss the mark than low-and make it.
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Saturday, January 7, 2017
The wisdom of Birbal was unparalleled during the reign of Emperor Akbar. But Akbar’s brother in law was extremely jealous of him. He asked the Emperor to dispense with Birbal’s services and appoint him in his place. He gave ample assurance that he would prove to be more efficient and capable than Birbal. Before Akbar could take a decision on this matter, this news reached Birbal.
Birbal resigned and left. Akbar’s brother in law was made the minister in place of Birbal. Akbar decided to test the new minister. He gave three hundred gold coins to him and said, “Spend these gold coins such that, I get a hundred gold coins here in this life; a hundred gold coins in the other world and another hundred gold coins neither here nor there.”
The minister found the entire situation to be a maze of confusion and hopelessness. He spent sleepless nights worrying how he would get himself out of this mess. Thinking in circles was making him go crazy. Eventually, on the advice of his wife he sought Birbals help. Birbal said, “Just give me the gold coins. I shall handle the rest.”
Birbal walked the streets of the city holding the bag of gold coins in his hand. He noticed a rich merchant celebrating his son’s wedding. Birbal gave a hundred gold coins to him and bowed courteously saying, “Emperor Akbar sends you his good wishes and blessings for the wedding of your son. Please accept the gift he has sent.” The merchant felt honoured that the king had sent a special messenger with such a precious gift. He honoured Birbal and gave him a large number of expensive gifts and a bag of gold coins as a return gift for the king.
Next, Birbal went to the area of the city where the poor people lived. There he bought food and clothing in exchange for a hundred gold coins and distributed them in the name of the Emperor.
When he came back to town he organized a concert of music and dance. He spent a hundred gold coins on it.
The next day Birbal entered Akbar’s darbar and announced that he had done all that the king had asked his brother-in-law to do. The Emperor wanted to know how he had done it. Birbal repeated the sequences of all the events and then said, “The money I gave to the merchant for the wedding of his son – you have got back while on this earth. The money I spent on buying food and clothing for the poor – you will get it in the other world. The money I spent on the musical concert – you will get neither here nor there.” Akbar’s brother in law understood his mistake and resigned. Birbal got his place back.
Moral: The money you spend on friends is returned or reciprocated in some form or the other. The money spent on charity gets converted into blessings from God which will be your eternal property. The money spent on pleasures is just frittered away. So when you spend your money, think a little, if not a lot.
I have a friend named Monty Roberts who owns a horse ranch in San Isidro. He has let me use his house to put on fund-raising events to raise money for youth at risk programs.
The last time I was there he introduced me by saying, “I want to tell you why I let Jack use my horse. It all goes back to a story about a young man who was the son of an itinerant horse trainer who would go from stable to stable, race track to race track, farm to farm and ranch to ranch, training horses. As a result, the boy’s high school career was continually interrupted. When he was a senior, he was asked to write a paper about what he wanted to be and do when he grew up.
“That night he wrote a seven-page paper describing his goal of someday owning a horse ranch. He wrote about his dream in great detail and he even drew a diagram of a 200-acre ranch, showing the location of all the buildings, the stables and the track. Then he drew a detailed floor plan for a 4,000-square-foot house that would sit on a 200-acre dream ranch.
“He put a great deal of his heart into the project and the next day he handed it in to his teacher. Two days later he received his paper back. On the front page was a large red F with a note that read, `See me after class.’
“The boy with the dream went to see the teacher after class and asked, `Why did I receive an F?’
“The teacher said, `This is an unrealistic dream for a young boy like you. You have no money. You come from an itinerant family. You have no resources. Owning a horse ranch requires a lot of money. You have to buy the land. You have to pay for the original breeding stock and later you’ll have to pay large stud fees. There’s no way you could ever do it.’ Then the teacher added, `If you will rewrite this paper with a more realistic goal, I will reconsider your grade.’
“The boy went home and thought about it long and hard. He asked his father what he should do. His father said, `Look, son, you have to make up your own mind on this. However, I think it is a very important decision for you.’ “Finally, after sitting with it for a week, the boy turned in the same paper, making no changes at all.
He stated, “You can keep the F and I’ll keep my dream.”
Monty then turned to the assembled group and said, “I tell you this story because you are sitting in my 4,000-square-foot house in the middle of my 200-acre horse ranch. I still have that school paper framed over the fireplace.” He added, “The best part of the story is that two summers ago that same schoolteacher brought 30 kids to camp out on my ranch for a week.” When the teacher was leaving, he said, “Look, Monty, I can tell you this now. When I was your teacher, I was something of a dream stealer. During those years I stole a lot of kids’ dreams. Fortunately you had enough gumption not to give up on yours.”
Moral: Don’t let anyone steal your dreams. Follow your heart, no matter what. No Dream is too big or too small when one works hard to live it. One should always try making dreams come true no matter what.